On Friday, Qualcomm announced its newest headphone chip, the QCC3026. The new SoC developed by the company will help smartphone manufactures develop the next generation of Bluetooth earbuds. It is the younger sibling of Qualcomm’s QCC5100 series, announced earlier this year at CES. This is the cheaper one and targets the mid-range audience.
The company positioned the QCC3026 as a value option that doesn’t sacrifice quality; they claim, it cuts power consumption by up to 50 percent. This will also offer dedicated components for active noise cancellation and hearing augmentation. Augmented reality applications will be much more realistic without considerable sacrifices to listening time.
The QCC3026 chip also supports Qualcomm’s enhanced TrueWireless Stereo features which was presented first time with QCC5100. Most truly Bluetooth earbuds use one ‘primary’ bud to link to the phone and relay the information to the ‘secondary’ bud. TrueWireless technology allows the headphones to switch roles automatically, allowing for better battery life.
Truly wireless headphones are the holy grail for Bluetooth headphone companies, but with the exception of a couple of models — like Apple’s AirPods — it seems like most of the industry is still trying to figure out how to get them to work.
As these products become smaller and more intelligent, users want to wear them for than just music or a phone call, This is driving a significant push in the power consumption and processing power you need in such small form factors. Qualcomm is building its SoC to entice makers to include Bluetooth earbuds in the box that is not the tradition.
Highlights of QC3026
According to Qualcomm, the QCC3026 is particularly well-suited for phone manufacturers, who, with the removal of the standard headphone jack from their designs, left consumers desiring a non-wired solution to listen to their music. With this new design, phone OEMs can provide quality sounding earbuds at a cost point that allows them to package them in the box with, or alongside, their latest smartphones providing an overall more compelling offer to consumers.
One phone maker is already on board. Oppo announced its O-Free truly wireless headphones. These are affordable, coming in at about $106 USD. They are providing them free with Oppo Find X Lamborghini edition.
The remaining question is whether these headphones can deliver on sound quality? Oppo’s headphones offer up to four hours listening time on one charge with an additional 12 hours from the charging case. The AirPods, however, offer five hours listening time and 24 additional hours via the charging case.
The future may hold several low-cost AirPod competitors, if we are moving towards jack-less phones, which is clear, then this smart move by Qualcomm will prove to be the cost effective solution and better quality at hands.